Edinburgh in Scotland and its attractions – stories of knights and ghosts
Edinburgh is one of the most mysterious cities in old Europe. Its medieval walls keep the secrets of several centuries, tell the stories of knights and kings. This mystical gem of Scotland is proud of its legends and myths. They say that tunnels have survived under the city that connected parts of it with the ancient castle. And with the onset of darkness, the spirits of days long past take over its streets. Be that as it may, the bizarre stories of the Scottish capital lure many tourists here. Some of them leave a part of their heart here forever. Why does this place, like a magnet, attract so many dreamers, romantics and just lovers of discovery?
What to visit in Edinburgh
One of the main reasons to visit the city is its attractions. Edinburgh in Scotland is a true open-air museum. Just imagine, 75% of the buildings here are included in the list of architectural landmarks of the Kingdom. The medieval old town together with the castle and the new Gregorian town are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is not at all surprising that the capital of Scotland has the second largest number of tourists in the UK after London.
Attractions in Edinburgh
The most striking building in the sky of a modern city is, of course, an ancient castle. It is built on the mouth of a volcano 350 million years old. Some of its structures date back to the 12th century. They say that many ghosts of past centuries walk between the walls. From time to time tourists come across them: they say, sometimes you can hear the playing of a pipe. According to one legend, the guy who played this instrument was forced to roam underground tunnels to explore where they lead. However, the musician never returned. Since then, an ancient instrument has been heard in the castle.
Blair Street Dungeons
As you’ve probably already noticed, the city map is divided by numerous underground passages. Blair Street Vaults are not an attraction for the faint of heart. Their darkness is dispelled only by the flickering of candles, and the coldness of the past blows from the labyrinths. Once these dungeons were a haven for the poor, in addition, criminals hid here. They say that it is in them that the largest number of paranormal phenomena occurs among all locations in the city.
If the stories about ghosts and ghosts are not to your liking, then visit the ancient architectural landmark of the city – Holyrood Palace. Today it is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland. And once the castle of the 16th century served for local rulers. It was here that the famous Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, who was executed for conspiracy against her cousin, Queen Elizabeth of England, lived. Now her chambers, like most of the castle halls, are open to visitors.
Free museums and festivals in Edinburgh
The capital of Scotland reveals centuries of history and culture to its guests. Galleries and museums, festivals and concerts, lush gardens and architectural landmarks – Edinburgh fascinates both outdoor enthusiasts and art lovers.
If you want to know more about the history of a country entwined with legends, then you should visit the city’s museums. We recommend starting with the National Galleries of Scotland. Note that they all offer free admission to visitors.
Cultural holidays – Edinburgh museums
The National Gallery exhibits paintings by famous world artists: Van Duc, Gauguin, Cezanne, Degas, Velazquez and even Botticelli. In addition, here you will see works by Rubens and Da Vinci, Delacroix and Van Gogh. Few people get the opportunity to look at the works of all these artists in one gallery.
Want to know more about contemporary art in Scotland? Visit the Gallery of Modern Art. Samples from the early 20th century are exhibited here. The galleries showcase paintings by the Cubists Pablo Picasso and Pierre Bonnard, as well as post-war innovators Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali.
Another place worth seeing is Greyfriars Kirkyard. Someone will be surprised, because the cemetery is not the best place to visit for tourists. However, the Greyfriars are a real attraction. Prominent Scottish figures, politicians and artists are buried here. It was this place, by the way, that became the inspiration for J.K. Rowling when writing the book about Harry Potter. Greyfriars Kirkyard does not look like a cemetery we are used to, it is a whole city in a city with majestic monuments and distinctive stories.
Edinburgh Festival Weekend – What to Visit
The capital of Scotland is one of the most festival cities in the world. Throughout the year, a wide variety of events take place in it: from musical and theatrical to books and art. The festival season does not end here at the end of summer, as in most other cities.
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. This festival is held for three days and is accompanied by bright shows and musical performances against the backdrop of an ancient castle. Hogmanay from Scottish means “New Year’s Eve”. This is why this is the perfect opportunity to experience local traditions. Listen to the music of local performers, try yourself in folk dances and, most importantly, watch the spectacular picture when hundreds of guests light torches on the occasion of the celebration. On this night, the lights of Edinburgh dwarf even the brightest stars.
International Science Festival. The international science festival in the city is one of the largest in Europe. If you think that this is just a conference of scientists, where tourists have nothing to do, this is not at all the case. Workshops, master classes, research in various fields: modern technology and the life of dinosaurs, the study of space and the human body. Just choose what you like and feel like a real explorer.
Edinburgh International Festival. This is, without exaggeration, the event of the year for the city. It turns into the UK’s art center every August. Music concerts, theater and opera performances, dance performances can be seen at every step for 3 weeks. Visit it and your summer in Scotland is guaranteed to be unforgettable.
Shopping centers in Edinburgh and shopping
It’s always a pleasure to bring along little things that remind you of your journey, and a visit to Edinburgh will be no exception. Of course, in this case, you can skimp at one of the local malls: Waverley, The Gyle or Ocean Terminal. However, we advise you a few hidden from the crowd shops that have every chance of becoming your favorites.
Paper Tiger is a small shop on Lothian Road. In it you will find toys, jewelry, gifts for loved ones and books. And most importantly, all this is in the traditional Scottish style. Get a souvenir of craft items made by local producers or chocolates from local craftsmen.
Armchair Books will appeal to connoisseurs of antique publications. It is completely filled with tall shelves of books of different genres and periods. Before you can blink an eye, you will be in this store on West Port for several hours.
Cranachan and Crowdie is the last but brightest on our list. Located on the Royal Mile, it is full of food, drinks and goodies. Here you can also buy a gift for family and friends with a perfect design.
Education in Edinburgh
Scottish Edinburgh today is 1/5 of students. There are three universities in the city. The fourth oldest university in the country, the University of Edinburgh is divided into 3 faculties: Humanities and Social Sciences, Engineering, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. In the 60s, Harriott-Watt University and Napier University were founded in the city. These technical universities rank high on the list of the best institutions in the UK, thanks in part to their strong research facilities.
Most of the local schools are state-owned, the most famous of which is Royal High School. It was founded in 1128 and is on the list of the oldest in the country and in the world as a whole. There are also many prestigious private institutions, in particular Mary Erskine School, which is famous for the high level of achievements of its students. Stewarts Melville College calls her brother, because only girls study in the first, and boys study in the second.
Where to stay – hotels, hostels in Edinburgh
The city is popular among students and tourists, so the choice of hotels and hostels is wide enough. A hotel room for two starts at £ 25 per night. For £ 30, you can find accommodation options with breakfast. The cost of a hotel room in the very center will be 50-70 pounds, depending on conditions. A night in the dormitory of a budget hostel will cost £ 8-10. If you want to live in the city center, the cost will go up to £ 12-15.
Weather in Edinburgh
The city is located in a region with a temperate climate. This is a noticeable advantage for visitors, because in winter the temperature does not drop below zero, and in summer it does not rise above 22 degrees. Due to its location, Edinburgh is a rather windy city. During the period from late autumn to early spring, the winds are cold here, therefore, when going on a trip, it is better to bring extra warm clothes with you.
Transport in Edinburgh
Edinburgh Airport receives both international flights from around the world and domestic flights from other British cities. No matter what time of day you arrive at the local airport, you can get to the center by the Airlink 100 bus. It runs 24 hours a day to Waverley Bridge station. The ticket price is 4.5 pounds, and you can buy it in any way convenient for you: online, at the airport information center, at the bus stop or from the driver.
You can get around the city using buses, trams and black city taxis. There are also private taxi services and car rentals. Local bus carriers Lothian Buses and First Group offer mobile apps so you can check timetables, directions and fares.